SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | A lengthy November ballot could get longer in San Leandro. Three potential revenue-generating initiatives, including one for taxing cannabis, are popular with voters, according to a recent city survey.
Two-thirds of likely San Leandro voters registered support for taxing cannabis sales in the city. San Leandro's first cannabis dispensary is due to open this year with a second expected in the near future. Twenty-three percent of the disapproved of the tax and 10 percent were undecided.
“For a simple majority measure that’s a great place to start,” said Bryan Godbe, president of Godbe Research, which conducted the survey.
San Leandro Assistant City Manager Eric Engelbart said last month the trio of possible measures, if approved by voters, could create $1.8 million in new annual revenues. A citywide tax on gross cannabis receipts alone could yield $500,000 in additional annual revenue, he said.
The polling's results were collected between June 4-13 and include 501 respondents--a majority through an online survey. Its margin of error is +/- 4.34 percent.
The proceeds from all three potential ballot measures would be directed to the general fund, meaning 50 percent or more support is needed for passage. Initiatives generating tax revenues for a specific purpose required a more difficult to achieve two-thirds majority.
A selling point for this set of measures, said City Manager Chris Zapata, is the taxes will not come from local residents but from travelers and people visiting San Leandro from outside jurisdictions.
Mayor Pauline Cutter, said she had initial reservations whether three tax initiatives might overwhelm San Leandro voters, but they subsided, she said, after being convinced out-of-towners were bear the brunt of the tax.
In addition to a tax on cannabis, the survey found similar support for an increase on business license tax (raising the amount for parking lot revenues by 10 percent; and warehouses to $100 per 1,000 sq. ft. of space) and boosting San Leandro's Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).
According to the survey, 59 percent of respondents approved of the business license tax increase; 30 percent opposed and 11 percent had no opinion.
Nearly the same results were returned for raising the TOT: 63 percent supported it; 29 opposed; and 8 percent were undecided.
The San Leandro City Council will need to pass a resolution to put the measures on the November ballot sometime before the Aug. 12 deadline.